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Egypt arrests activists protesting detention over coronavirus concerns

Egypt has arrested four leading intellectual female activists who have been campaigning for the release of prisoners during the midst of the coronavirus; they were arrested on charges of spreading false news and violating Egypt’s protest ban.

The activists arrested were all part of the same family. Mona Seif is a prominent activist; as is her professor mother Laila Soueif; novelist aunt Ahdaf Soueif and professor aunt Rabab al-Mahdi; all of whom have been arrested for protesting outside the cabinet building. 

In a live stream for Facebook, Mona Seif was recorded saying;

"We are in front of the cabinet building, asking for the state to take serious steps regarding coronavirus in prisons. As we know, at the best of times Egypt's prisons are clusters for disease". 

Al Jazeera notes that human rights groups have consistently criticised Egypt for its detention of tens of thousands without trial due to their political views as well as issues of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. 

Human Rights Watch has echoed the voice of the protesters stating that a disaster can be avoided if Egyptian authorities arrange for a conditional release of prisoners.

In Egypt the health ministry has recorded, as of reporting, 256 cases of the coronavirus with a death toll of 7.

Read more from Reuters